Brewers stay in postseason hunt with 7-6 win over Reds
MILWAUKEE — Once again, the Cincinnati Reds gave the Milwaukee Brewers everything they had, but this time it wasn’t quite enough.
Scott Schebler and Zack Cozart hit home runs for Cincinnati, but Milwaukee got a three-run shot from Domingo Santana and a career-high three doubles from Stephen Vogt to keep its postseason hopes alive with a 7-6 victory over the Reds on Tuesday night at Miller Park.
“It may not be pretty, but it was a win,” Vogt said. “We have five games left and we want to win them all.”
The Reds put a big dent in the Brewers’ playoff push earlier this month, sweeping a three-game series in Cincinnati by a combined score of 21-8.
But after Zach Davies stranded a runner in the first, the Brewers went to work quickly on right-hander Deck McGuire, who was making his first big league start.
McGuire (0-1) got into trouble quickly as Eric Thames reached on a leadoff double and Neil Walker drew a walk. McGuire settled down and struck out his next two batters but hung a 2-2 slider to Santana, who crushed it to left-center field for his 29th homer of the season, giving Milwaukee a 3-0 lead.
Vogt followed with his first double of the day and came home when Orlando Arcia hit a two-bagger of his own, kicking off a three-hit day.
“We’ve been so good at that this year — jumping on a guy in the first inning,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “It goes almost double when you have a young pitcher out there, making his first big league start. You don’t want him to get into his comfort zone. We didn’t let him get comfortable and breathe. That was a big key.”
The Reds came right back in the second, cutting the lead in half on a two-run homer by Schebler, but Milwaukee caught a big break in the inning when Adam Duvall tried to score on Tucker Barnhart’s double to center.
Brett Phillips tracked it down and fired a throw to shortstop Orlando Arcia, whose relay was slightly off-target, but Vogt reached out, grabbed it and managed to hold onto the ball and tag Duvall as he tried to come home.
“It’s the play of the game,” Counsell said. “It squashes that inning. It was a huge play. We don’t get an out there, they get a run there and a lot can happen still.”
Milwaukee restored its four-run advantage by plating two in the third, bringing McGuire’s day to an end having allowed six runs (four earned), six hits and two walks while striking out five.
“This is the only time he’s taken the ball for us this year where he hasn’t performed really well,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “I hate to say these things are expected, but they are not necessarily unexpected. I expect the next time he takes the ball he will perform at a much better level.”
Davies preserved the lead, working out of a two-on, one-out jam in the fourth but gave way to the bullpen after opening the fifth with a triple from Billy Hamilton and walk to Cozart.
Josh Hader (2-3) took over and while the Reds made it 6-3 with a sacrifice fly by Joey Votto, Hader struck out five of his next six batters to keep Cincinnati at bay.
Cozart, though, tested his mettle with one out in the 10th, battling Hader full in a 10-pitch at-bat that made it 6-4.
The Reds put two more on, chasing Hader, and again got within a run on Eugenio Suarez’s RBI single, but couldn’t get over the hump against Anthony Swarzak.
Milwaukee added an insurance run in the bottom of the inning on Hernan Perez’s sac fly and Corey Knebel closed the door with a scoreless ninth for his 38th save.
NOTES: The Brewers failed to gain ground on Colorado, which maintained a 1 1/2-game lead in the NL wild-card chase after beating Miami. ... Cincinnati RHP Drew Storen underwent successful Tommy John surgery and will miss all of the 2018 season. Storen went 4-2 with a 4.45 ERA in 58 appearances this season. ... Brewers C Manny Pina has made “small progress” with his sprained left thumb but missed his fourth straight game. It is still unknown when, or if, he can return to action.